This one's just for us dogs!

My name is Hero.
My Mom rescued me when I was found wandering around in the countryside during the wintertime. Someone called my Mom to tell her that a "strange dog" (that's what they called ME!) had been hanging around their house for three weeks and asked if my Mom would take it. Of course, she said "Of course!" Mom runs
"Bluff Country Canine Rescue" and she helps dogs that don't have homes find really GOOD homes where the people love them and take excellent care of them, and they get to live IN THE HOUSE and everything! Since I was brought to the Rescue, Mom had to pay the "Adoption" fee so that she could keep me forever. She says that I was worth every cent!
Because I am such a NICE dog, I let the other dogs that Mom has rescued talk on MY BLOG once in a while.
I hope you'll stop by often and leave a comment so I know that you visited!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The FACTS...

Mom and I are still pretty upset about Caledonia, MN. wanting to ban Pit Bulls and Pit-mixes.  Pitties are such great dogs and get such a bad rap that we want to try to dispell some of the myths with something that elected officials and the media sometimes forget to consider:  the FACTS!

The American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS) is a national not-for-profit organization (registered in the state of Missouri) for the promotion of uniform temperament evaluation of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.

ATTS was established to:
  • Provide for a uniform, national program of temperament testing of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.
  • Conduct seminars to disseminate information to dog owners, dog breeders and evaluators (testers) concerning dog psychology, motivation, reaction and other aspects of temperament testing.
  • Recognize and award certificates to dogs that pass the requirements of the temperament evaluation.
  • Work for the betterment of all breeds of dogs.
  • Select, train, prepare and register temperament evaluators.
Our motto says it all:  “A SOUND MIND IN A SOUND BODY”

What is temperament? W. Handel, German Police Dog Trainer, in his article, “The Psychological Basis of Temperament Testing,” defines temperament as:“the sum total of all inborn and acquired physical and mental traits and talents which determines, forms and regulates behavior in the environment”

The ATTS test focuses on and measures different aspects of temperament such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog’s instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and/or self-preservation in the face of a threat. The test is designed for the betterment of all breeds of dogs and takes into consideration each breed’s inherent tendencies.

The test simulates a casual walk through the park or neighborhood where everyday life situations are encountered. During this walk, the dog experiences visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. Neutral, friendly and threatening situations are encountered, calling into play the dog’s ability to distinguish between non-threatening situations and those calling for watchful and protective reactions.

About Canine Temperament
Because of breed-specific dog legislation and negative publicity associated with many breeds of dogs, temperament testing has assumed an important role for today’s dog fancier. The ATTS Temperament Test provides breeders a means for evaluating temperament and gives pet owners insight into their dog’s behavior. It can have an impact on breeding programs and in educating owners about their dog’s behavioral strengths and weaknesses as well as providing a positive influence on dog legislation.

The following is a list of common breeds of dogs (listed alphabetically) and the percentage of each breed that PASSED the temperament tests:

**American Bulldog                                                85.5
**American Pit Bull Terrier                                       86.8
**American Staffordshire Terrier (Am Staff)                84.2
Afghan Hound                                                   72.4 
Airedale Terrier                                                   77.7
Akita                                                               76.2
Australian Cattle Dog                                          79.3
Basenji                                                             67.8
Beagle                                                              80.0
Bichon Frise                                                       76.7
Border Collie                                                       81.3
Boston Terrier                                                    84.8
**Boxer                                                                 83.4
**Bulldog                                                               70.4
**Bull Terrier                                                           91.0
Cairn Terrier                                                       73.5
Cardigan Welsh Corgi                                           80.0
Chihuahua                                                         68.0
Cocker Spanial                                                    81.9
Chow Chow                                                        71.4
Collie                                                                 80.1
Dachshund (Min. smooth)                                     80.0
Dachshund (Std. smooth)                                      68.8
Dalmatian                                                          82.5
Dandi Dinmont Terrier                                           71.4
German Shepherd Dog                                          82.6
German Shorthaired Pointer                                  76.9
Golden Retriever                                                  85.2
Great Dane                                                        80.0
Jack Russell Terrier                                              84.1
Labrador Retriever                                               92.3
Lhasa Apso                                                        70.4
Maltese                                                             81.3
Miniature Poodle                                                  77.9
**Mixed Breeds                                                       86.2
**Pit Bull (Am PBT)                                                  86.8
Pomeranian                                                        75.8
Pug                                                                  95.1
**Rottweiler                                                           83.9
Rat Terrier                                                          76.2
Scottish Terrier                                                    63.6
Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)                                    68.1
Shih Tzu                                                             76.2
Siberian Husky                                                     86..9
Smooth Fox Terrier                                                76.4
Toy Fox Terrier                                                      77.8
Toy Poodle                                                           81.1
West Highland White Terrier                                  88.3

The above information was taken off the website of the American Temperament Test Society.  The list of breeds tested is not complete ~ there are many other breeds recorded.  I selected some of the more well known breeds. Breeds marked with double asterisks (**) are commonly referred to as the "bully breeds" or Pit Bull mixes as they either have or look as if they have bull dog breeding in them.  These are some of the breeds most commonly discriminated against with Breed Selective Legislation.  As you can see, in almost every case, the bully breeds are no more likely ~ and often MUCH LESS  LIKELY to become aggressive than most of the other popular pet breeds.  

So, why do Pit Bulls and other "Bully Breeds" have such a bad reputation? 
Pit Bulls are a very intelligent, loyal breed of dog that also happens to be very powerful.  Because of their size and strength and the fact that they so desperately want to please their owners, Pit bulls fall prey to unsavory owners who want to use them for dog fighting or guard dogs in isolated (often illegal) locations and drug rings.  These dogs are frequently abused horrendously and/or neglected to the point of starvation.    Some are taught to fight in order to survive.   If they won't fight (a not-uncommon problem), they are either killed, starved to death or used as "bait dogs" to fuel the blood lust of dogs that have learned to kill or be killed.  

By far, the vast majority of Pit Bulls are loving, goofy, eager to please canine companions.  They are no more likely ~ in fact often LESS LIKELY to bite than most other breeds of dogs.  Keep in mind, for many years, it was the norm for many American families to have a Pit Bull or Pit-mix that grew up with and was the constant companion of the children.  Long before they became notorious because of the things that evil owners forced them to do, Pit Bulls were known as America's "Nanny Dog".  

Nobody thought twice about entrusting their children with their loyal, loving Pit Bull.  

But when newspapers and television started shouting out stories of savage dog fight rings and pictures of Pit Bulls, decked out in spiked colors and with blood lust in their eyes.  When dog fighting became a big money business for not only low-life scoundrels,  but big name stars like Michael Vick,  the dark side of how all that power could be used came into view. 

The Nanny Dog is now vilified by a media that always wants a demon dog breed to frighten people and LHASA-APSO BITES MAN just doesn’t sell papers. Before pit bulls it was Rottweilers, before Rottweilers it was Dobermans, and before them German Shepherds. Each breed in it’s order were deemed too vicious and unpredictable to be around people. Each time people wanted laws to ban them. It is breathtakingly ironic that the spotlight has turned on the breed once the symbol of our country and our national babysitter. (photos and this paragraph from Yonah Ward Grossman - "FOR OVER ONE HUNDRED YEARS AMERICANS KNEW PIT BULLS FOR WHAT THEY DID BEST.  BABYSITTING.  PART I.")

Part 2 of Mr. Grossman's series can be found HERE
Part 3 can be found HERE

Banning Pit Bulls is not the answer to preventing dog bites/attacks.  Neither is dramatizing every single incident in which a Pit Bull is violent.  That only feeds the paranoia.  When is the last time you read about a "Sheltie" attacking someone's child?  The fact is a Sheltie is MUCH more likely to bite than a Pit Bull.  One just doesn't read about it in the paper.  Enforcing strong regulations regarding the care, housing, licensing and supervision of ALL breeds is the way to reduce canine conflicts.Ban chaining of dogs. Any dog chained 24/7 can become unstable and aggressive.  Dogs are pack animals.  They NEED exercise, socialization and companionship.  Stopping abuse, neglect, isolation and cracking down on anyone involved in dog fighting is the ONLY way to keep our communities safe AND give us back America's Nanny...

There's a lot more information that supports the FACT that it's not Pit Bulls that are the problem ~ any more than it's the match's problem if it is used to start a fire!  It is when the wrong people get their hands on ANY breed of dog and abuse, neglect and misuse it that problems arise.  Don't ban the breed ~ Ban the DEED!




  1. Thank you so much for posting this. My Rama is a Cane Corso and in some places it is a banned breed as well. When I had Rottweilers I faced discrimination constantly, even though they were registered therapy dogs and assisted me in teaching obedience classes. It is so sad to see another community banning breeds. With the recent repeals in other areas of the country, I hope the tide continues to turn as more people realize eradicating a breed of dog isn't going to solve the issue. Thank you again for posting this! :-)

  2. I have yet to understand why people blame the breed and not the owner? And to ban a breed does not even make sense to me. Hopefully more and more people will become educated about banning breeds and things will change for the better.

  3. Well, I have had a couple days to think about how I was going to respond to your post. I have some mixed feelings and please hear me out...Two years ago my two dogs and I were attacked by 3 pit bulls while on our morning walk while living on the island of Molokai. On Molokai the pits are used/trained for fighting/hunting deer and wild pig...anyhow we all survived, my yellow lab had over 50 puncture wounds, tore up her rectum, I had 17 stitches in my hand, my GSD ended up with no injuries. We are all fine but, to this day I am still afraid of a pit bull and so are my dogs--they never react negatively to any other dog but the pit. While I know that it is not the breeds fault it is the owners either lack of knowledge in training the dog or just ignorance. These three pits also killed a goat and nearly attacked a small child prior to our encounter. NO fines were issued in any of the 3 incidents. Part of the problem there was local politics and culture.
    I do believe that more education must be given to potential dog owners of all breeds. I am not for eradicating a breed...I just wish people would do the research and training so that situations like I went through won't happen. ITS SCARED the crap out of me!!
    Thanks for listening.

  4. Hi Guys,

    Really interesting and surprising to see those statistics!!

    I echo your closing comments, it's really about education and if people want the honor of having a Dog, they need to be responsible Dog parents, regardless of the breed….

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy :)

  5. Hi Hero! Lots of great information buddy! We agree, people need to be educated and be responsible. Thanks for stopping by my blog, it's very nice to meet you!

  6. Hi Y'all!

    Hero, my post tomorrow links to you, Pawcurious, The Diary of a Real Life Veterinarian and the ASPCA article on BSL.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog


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Your Pals,

Hero, Bella and Sable (but mostly HERO!)